Planning For The Future

Narrowing down a final list can be a daunting task for a highly sought-after recruit, as Illinois offensive lineman Chris Watt is rapidly learning. But with his focus set on making a final decision in advance of National Signing Day, Watt has a busy couple of months ahead of himself.

He's one of the country's top linemen. He's been described as a "violent" player who will drives opponents into the ground even after the whistle is blown by his head coach. He recorded more than 100 pancake blocks as a junior.

And he is coming to a school near you. With his eyes set on making a college choice by the time his senior season kicks off this fall, four-star offensive lineman Chris Watt has a busy spring in store.

To get himself to a point where he will be able to make a final decision, the prospect from Glen Ellyn (Ill.) Glenbard West has a plan in place that will rack up more than a few miles on his family's car.

"I'm taking a few unofficial visits in the next couple of months to the schools that I'm really considering," he told "Then I want to get out for second visits to schools that I'm really interested in and narrow it down from there. I want to make a decision before my senior season. If that doesn't work out, maybe take two or three official visits."

The big question, then, is where the 6-4, 270-pound Watt plans to go this spring. Asked to name some of the schools he is really considering, Watt rattled off a list.

"Definitely Ohio State," he said. "I'm going to Virginia and Stanford and Illinois and then Michigan and Notre Dame."

Although his mother is an Illinois graduate, Watt said he grew up without any real attachment to a specific college team.

"I wasn't really a huge fan of any particular school," he said. "I was more of a Midwest fan. I liked a lot of schools in the Midwest like Northwestern and Illinois, Michigan, Ohio State and Notre Dame. I liked them all. I liked college football in general."

Dates have not been drawn up for all of his visits yet, but Watt is planning on being in Columbus to see a spring practice at OSU on or around March 31. The trip is of the make-up variety after a planned appearance at an OSU junior day did not materialize.

As it turns out, it was head coach Jim Tressel who advised Watt to stay at home, fearing for his safety as Columbus was besieged by the biggest snow storm for the area in recorded history.

"Coach Tressel told me to give him a call when I was about to leave," Watt said. "I was supposed to leave right after school. I called him and he said they had four or five inches and were supposed to get 15 more. He said everything usually shuts down in Columbus when the snow comes, so we scheduled it for another time."

As a junior, Watt totaled 118 pancake blocks as an offensive lineman. He played on both sides of the ball but is projected as an offensive guard at the collegiate level. Watt's head coach, Chad Hetlet, said he is skilled at both run and pass blocking although his school is primarily a running team. ranks him as the No. 3 offensive guard in the country.

Watt has become familiar with Garrett Goebel, a member of OSU's class of 2008. Goebel prepped at Lombard (Ill.) Montini Catholic, but it was a shared teammate that connected the two. Fullback Kane Kerinan signed with Illinois State's class of 2008 and transferred to Glenbard West for his sophomore season.

Through Kerinan, Goebel and Watt became friends. In addition, Goebel's uncle, Brian, has helped Watt a bit through the recruiting process.

The younger Goebel had some advice for Watt, though.

"We met before I was offered by Ohio State," Watt said. "(Goebel) just said that I should look at the schools that I'm interested in and that I should make the best decision for me. And then he's like, ‘Ohio State's a great place.' He said I have to make my own decision for myself and Ohio State is a great place for him so that's why he chose them."

Whichever school lands Watt will be getting a player Hetlet called one of the most physical athletes he had ever seen.

"When he gets on the field he flips the switch into crazy mode and he borders on unsportsmanlike," he said. "He's so physical. It's a special thing."

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